Wow, I’m gonna be flying to NZ in ~48 hours. That’s an intimidating thought. Right, MOVIES! I’m gonna keep ‘em short, I’m tired and stressed over packing and such, but want to review them while they’re still fresh
This is a double review, both The Amazing Spider-man and Premium Rush. Anyone guess which I liked better?
Spider-Man: I wasn’t too thrilled with the idea of the reboot from the start. My stance pretty much never changed throughout it’s trailers and theater run. Garfield and Stone were surprising, They weren’t bad at all. The problem is that their characters are inexplicably bland. The elements of each of them are never really explored and we must take them as presented. On top of that they fall in love, but have NO reason to do so other than the movie says they are. I did enjoy the snarky and cocky spider-man, it felt appropriate for a kid who just got super powers. He then sheds that mentality just as quickly he drops his plot-driving vendetta. He’s seeking out Uncle Ben’s killer, but after a short argument with Captain Stacy, Spider-Man, without a second glance, gives up dreams of vengeance and is a good guy. He never learns a lesson, he just gets scolded. It seems far too abrupt for me. I didn’t get Lizard’s motivation either. He starts out with his own revenge story, but it is dropped and forgotten as quickly as Spider-man’s. Lizard then inexplicably decides the world must be Lizard too. Too many elements of the plot are just tossed around carelessly. Too much is done because the movie says so and it won’t really go into why. Kinda weird
Technically it was lousy. The First-Person shots that are randomly thrown in of Spider-man’s perspective (Ham it up for 3D I’m sure) were cheap and really distracting since there wasn’t flow into or out of those shots, there was no REAL reason to do those shots other than just to do it. The CG for Lizard was bad (not as bad as some people claim), I had more problems with his art design, he just looked terrible to me. Honestly he looks like a Goomba from the Super Mario Bros. Movie from the 90′s. I recall thinking how there was a significant lack of theme to the music, I kept my ear tuned for some dramatic piece for Spider-man, but it never really came.
It wasn’t horrible, but it is incredibly mediocre to me. Can’t win ‘em all.
NOW PREMIUM RUSH. This movie is fun. Not fantastic, but definitely simple. Simple can really work in a film’s favor, it doesn’t try to be anything more. It’s not deep, there are no real morals to speak of other than: “don’t be a gambling douchebag”. Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays Wilee, a bike messenger. He loves to ride his bike…with no brakes or coasting or extra gears, bit psycho to me (and to a lot of the characters in the movie too). Today Wilee gets a package that attracts the attention of Michael Shannon who today plays a cop with a gambling problem. And that’s it, that’s essentially the whole story. Wilee on his bike, doing crazy stuff and being chased by people.
How does this movie work then? because, like i said, it’s FUN. JGL and Shannon are both lively in their parts, they too seemed to be having fun. They poke fun at the whole scenario just as the audience would. At one point the bad guy (who is trying to run Wilee over at the time) says “I’m chasing a guy on a bike” and then chuckles incredulously. The movie knows how ridiculous a premise it is and just runs with it. The flashback sequences to show what got major players into this chase do break up the pace, but you gotta put it in somewhere and having it at the beginning would ruin early surprises.
The technicals aren’t amazing, but still a bit impressive. I’m pretty sure Levitt was actually riding the bike (whenever his stuntman wasn’t) as in to say no CGI. So he’s bolting down NYC streets, but you can always see him, and everything else, really clearly. This movie would fall on its face with shaky cam. The shots are already pretty fast to match the pace of the story, if we couldn’t see what was there we’d miss the entire movie. My favorite moments are the times that Wilee comes to a crossroad and has to decide which ways to best navigate traffic so not to get obliterated. We watch as he sees a possible route, we are then treated to a surreal account of how horribly wrong that way would go so he moves onto the next one. It totally works for me, made me chuckle.
No it’s not perfect, but hey, just because I’m a film geek doesn’t mean I can’t like movies that aren’t artsy or cinematic gold. Sometimes I enjoy just watching a well executed chase. It’s a treat when I can do that without turning off my brain. Off the top of my head I can’t think of a movie that is just a long chase (you’re welcome to remind me of some). At least I was never bored nor confused (more that I can say for Spider-Man).
So much for short reviews. Ah well, wish me Luck in NZ! Next post will probably be pics from the airport and my THRILLING tale of sitting on a plane for 12 straight hours.